Press Release

May 27, 2011


State Public Health Department Recognizes Dr. Francis Ihejirika for Excellence in Pediatric Care

Ron W. Lee, MD Excellence in Pediatric Care Awards – Community Service 

CHAMPAIGN, ILL. – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and The Illinois Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program today honored Dr. Francis Ihejirika with a special pediatric care award for his contributions to childhood care. The Ron W. Lee, M.D. – Excellence in Pediatric Care Awards are given annually by IDPH and EMSC to recognize those dedicated to pediatric emergency care and childhood injury prevention initiatives. Individuals or organizations can be nominated in one of three award categories - Lifetime Achievement, Clinical Excellence and Community Service.

“I have the honor today to present the Ron W. Lee, MD – Excellence in Pediatric Care Award for Community Service to Dr. Francis Ihejirika for his dedication, many accomplishments and true commitment to children,” said Dr. Sam Gaines, Medical Director, Illinois Department of Public Health Office of Preparedness & Response. “Dr. Ihejirika clearly goes above and beyond. His community service is exemplary and it is obvious that he has a devotion to supporting and advocating for children and families.”

Dr. Ihejirika is the Founder and CEO of the PASS (Physician Assisted Student Success) Program and is currently the Director of the PASS Program Champaign. The PASS Program is an intensive four to eight week tutoring program for students preparing for medical boards. Over the years, Dr. Ihejirika has provided assistance and support to children and families in the Champaign community, including providing funding for many programs in the Unit 4 School District in Champaign. Last year, Dr. Ihejirika also became involved with a new community partnership that takes after-school tutoring to students in their own neighborhoods. Although the school district supported two of the teachers that supervised the tutoring, a third teacher was needed. Dr. Ihejirika provided the funds necessary to support a third teacher and in addition, he provides the snacks for the after school program.

“Dr. Ihejirika makes a difference in many lives in the Champaign Urbana community. He believes that every child should be given a chance to succeed no matter what type of background they come from and that everyone should give back to the community where they live and work,” said Lauren Smith, Community Outreach Coordinator, Unit 4 School District.

The Ron W. Lee, M.D. Excellence in Pediatric Care awards are presented each May. Dr. Lee was the director of emergency medicine at Loyola University Medical Center and was instrumental in establishing and fostering the EMSC program in Illinois. He passed away in 1998.

The Illinois EMSC program is a collaborative effort of the Illinois Department of Public Health and Loyola University Medical Center. It was established in 1994 to ensure the emergency medical care needs of children are adequately addressed.

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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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